Thursday, January 31, 2008
Music Break - Donklephant Debate Edition
An O’Jay’s classic.
Music Break - New Shelby Lynne
I’m a huge fan, have been for years, ESPECIALLY since I Am Shelby Lynne came out. Finger’s crossed that she comes by Summerfest again this summer.
Gonna have to head to the local independent music store and pick it up.
Monday, January 28, 2008
My spirits were elevated by the enchanting appearance of nature; the past was blotted from my memory, the present was tranquil, and the future gilded by bright rays of hope and anticipations of joy. - Mary Shelly, Frankenstein
Look, they just stitched in the liver for that new Frankenstein monster that the Daley Donklephant machine’s mad scientist is building. Not sure they’ve settled on a name for the monster ... currently it looks like “Change” is its first name, with “Hope” the middle name. Perhaps “Suckers” will be the name awarded at first communion. Time will tell, if it walks at all.
We’ve long since seen the red right hand connected to the thing, with big beefy arms in place and an eye each for conflicts to come. You’ve got some legs set to run away from past struggles, eager to insist that the only way to reach the future is to look back on the past with scorn.
It doesn’t seem to have a heart yet, nor the stomach for politics, but don’t worry, it’ll live!!!! Really, it will.
All you have to do is BELIEVE! So clap, cheer, don’t pay any attention for the areas where a history is lacking, or for those places where the history is troubling. So called “progressives”, with the lightning provided by your own credulity, can make this glorious monster rise and walk!
Just believe, and pay no attention to the rot of old DLC ideas and the corruption of an expanding pile of corpses provided by wars of empire and the recycled viscera of gutted social programs and what’s left of your civil rights. That stench isn’t what is making your eyes water ... those are tears of joy!
Just believe, and it will be so, and when that creature named Change Hope Obama walks into the White House birds will sing as they fall from the warming skies, fawns will cavort in the (decaying) National Parks and children will smile sunny smiles as their futures disappear.
All you have to do is believe.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Like Tears in the Rain
Chief Marie Smith Jones Prays for the Eyaks
The world moves on, so quickly, so carelessly, and so much is left behind, so many peoples and experiences churned up in the wake of advancing modernity:
Marie Smith Jones was a champion of indigenous rights and conservation. She died at her home in Anchorage.
She helped the University of Alaska compile an Eyak dictionary, so that future generations would have the chance to resurrect it.
Nearly 20 other native Alaskan languages are at risk of disappearing.
Ms Jones is described by her family as a tiny chain smoking woman who was fiercely independent, says the BBC’s Peter Bowes in Los Angeles.
“To the best of our knowledge, she was the last full-blooded Eyak alive,” her daughter Bernice Galloway told the Associated Press news agency.
“She was a woman who faced incredible adversity in her life and overcame it. She was about as tenacious as you can get.”
She believed passionately in preserving the Eyak language and wanted a written record of it to be kept so for future generations, our correspondent adds.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
What's At Risk
“I had an Abortion” montage
It’s been thirty-five years since Roe v. Wade.
I’m not sure where to go after stating that basic fact, because beyond that, women’s access to control over their own medical care has all-but disappeared for far too many women in this country.
It’s been thirty-five years since Roe v. Wade.
It’s just a fact. That’s all, a historical hiccup in the long history of the oppression of half of humanity, here in the supposed “Land of the Free”, anyway. We all know that it’s a much longer history than that. We all know that women’s bodies, their health, their choice to carry a child, is the province of the men who far-too-often treat them as chattel, as brood mares, as instruments of the imperial male drive for continuation of his domain, his name, HIS destiny.
It’s been thirty-five years since Roe v. Wade.
Maybe we should listen to the REAL story of this day, this anniversary of an unfulfilled promise:
The voice on the other end of the phone line was soft but urgent.
“My daughter needs help,” the woman said. “She’s gotten herself into a situation.”
Emelda Ortiz had heard the story before—many times. Once a week for two hours, Ortiz staffs a hot line for women and girls desperate to terminate unwanted pregnancies but unable to afford the procedure.
Thirty-five years ago Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court said women have a constitutional right to choose abortion. Yet that right is difficult to exercise for large segments of the population—those too poor to pay for the procedure and those living too far away from a facility that provides it. Medicaid does not cover abortion because a 1976 law forbids the use of federal funds for that purpose.
In Cook County, Stroger Hospital performs first-trimester abortions on a sliding-fee scale, but many women say they can’t get through the red tape to obtain a timely appointment.
"Abortion is legal,” said Gaylon Alcaraz, director of the Chicago Abortion Fund, “but low-income women still can’t access it."
So, like the women of an earlier generation who ran underground networks to connect women with illegal abortion services, people like Ortiz and Alcaraz are doing what they can to help out.
Remember, it’s been thirty-five years since Roe v. Wade.
What else to say beyond that fact rendered meaningless by three and a half decades of political action, by BOTH parties, to render that decision meaningless?
It’s been thirty-five years since Roe v. Wade.
Maybe some more stories, this time from the Village Voice story where I found that photo montage at top:
Mothers in general figure prominently throughout the documentary—as supporters, as shamers, as doppelgangers in unwanted futures. As the daughter of a teenage mother who is the daughter of a teenage mother, Jenny Egan knew she didn’t want to keep the child she conceived at 16. But the men in her life were also pivotal in her decision; her Republican, Mormon, lawyer, Marine father reviled premarital sex and her slacker boyfriend didn’t look up from WWF long enough to make eye contact when she told him.
She spent time desperately searching the Bible for forgiveness and found only confusion about the idea that “life doesn’t begin until the quickening.” She wondered what constituted “the quickening.” Had she gotten to the clinic in time? “It didn’t feel like I had aborted a baby,” she says, “but it also didn’t feel like I had done away with nothing.”
Egan, now almost a decade older and, from the looks of her hipster haircut, many miles away from her straitlaced home, tells a chilling story of the day her parents found out. They received a letter in the mail that read: “Your daughter Jennifer had an abortion on April 9, 1997. Please let God guide your actions from this point forward. Signed, the Brotherhood.” Her mother immediately laid into her, shredding her already fragile conscience with a barrage of outrage. “I can’t believe you would do this!” she shouted. “You killed your baby!” To Egan’s shock, her usually stern father “wrapped me up into a little ball,” she says. “I was sobbing uncontrollably and he just held me and said, ‘It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay.’ “
A multifaceted story like this, of spiritual complexity and surprising compassion, makes the standard one-dimensional debate over abortion feel spurious. In a montage at the end of Speak Out: I Had an Abortion, we see a string of faces and hear an unassuming flow of voices make their own confessions. “My name is Sebastiana, and I had an abortion in 2000.” They go on. “I had an abortion in 1973. I had an abortion in 1939. I’ve had three abortions. I had an abortion.”
In the often disingenuous clamor over Roe v. Wade, such a dignified chorus deserves a place.
Why don’t we remember that chorus? Why don’t we consider it? Why can’t we, as a people, understand that these choices are so deeply, desperately, wonderfully HUMAN that the scolding of religious fanatics and cold, distant political calculators PALE before the voices of women, the voices of female human beings confronting basic questions of life and death, individuality and family, hope and cold, hard choices?
Why don’t we ASK?
It’s been thirty-five years since Roe v. Wade.
Here we are, and the needs and opinions of mothers and daughters and wives and sisters and friends and lovers matter so little in this debate, except to be trotted out for cold, political calculation. THIS IS NOT A QUESTION FOR POLITICS. This is a question of civil rights. This is a question of basic human freedom. For all of the Orwellian talk of “right to life” and trumpeting of poor, pathetic, “suffering" male “survivors” of abortion, we forget to ASK THE WOMEN.
It’s been thirty-five years since Roe v. Wade.
We need to ask what that decision really means, why it is important, and why the basic freedom of just over half of our population is treated like some casual political bargaining chip to be tossed into the pot by not only the winger Republican but the disingenuous Donklephants too.
It’s been thirty-five years since Roe v. Wade. It’s past time we started acting like it fucking matters.
POSTSCRIPT: One Wisconsin Now: Support an End to the Criminal Abortion Ban. Disgusting to think that laws like this are still on the books, waiting for the powers that be to overturn Roe v Wade.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
40 Years Ago Today
Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison
There was supposed to be a tribute concert at the Prison on this anniversary. It was cancelled, reportedly over “over filming rights, media access and security."
Given the current state of the rapacious society, I suspect that the rights, i.e. MONEY, played the largest part.
Anyway, we would do well to remember an artist who tried to exemplify what he believed by doing what those beliefs called upon him to do.
He’d been playing in prisons for more than 10 years when he recorded his legendary live prison records in San Quentin and Folsom in the late 1960s. “I really was interested in some kind of prison reform,” he said in a 1994 interview, “but I don’t think that’s the answer. The answer is out on the street. Jobs. Opportunities. Racial prejudice is another thing that’s wrong, and a reason for the crime and the drugs, too."
How sad that here in a new century, four decades later, we are confronted with the exact same list of wrongs. Our prison-industrial complex is bigger and arguably more brutal than it was in 1968. We’d would all benefit from a country that became more compassionate, that remembered that the people behind bars are human beings, human beings who will one day rejoin us out here in the so-called real world. We would do well to remember that people who are DIFFERENT from us in all kinds of ways are human beings, that we should try to find commonalities rather than always focusing on our divides.
We would all benefit if we stopped looking only at punitive “solutions” to our problem and started to work together to build a better society. Joe Avila, executive director of Prison Fellowship Ministries, which had helped underwrite the cancelled event, said:
"The whole Johnny Cash story is one of redemption,” he said. “Johnny was wild at heart, just like these men. But just like him, they can change. They can walk the line.
Friday, January 11, 2008
Thursday, January 10, 2008
The Ugliest American
Palestinians wait to have their ID
checked at an Israeli-monitored crossing on Road 60 at Hawara
Turning to Israeli checkpoints, (Bush) said: “I understand why Palestinians are frustrated driving through checkpoints. I can also understand why the Israelis want a state of security.”
He went on to joke that "my motorcade of a mere 45 cars made it through without being stopped."
At a “flying” checkpoint on Road 60 near Jenin, Israeli soldiers examined a Palestinian driver and his car.
The highway is interrupted by checkpoints, permanent roadblocks, new crossing terminals and walls.
Very fucking funny, asshole. I would say that he’s an embarrassment, except that he is so perfectly, ignorantly, pathetically AMERICAN in his dismissal of other people’s suffering.
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Prey: Our Souls, Our Lords' to Keep
“At the end—or maybe somewhere in the middle—a shaft of light
comes through and hits you and you experience an epiphany:
I have to vote for Barack.”
Just put the damned ballot boxes on an altar while we’re at it. It’s a mystery what’s happening in them already, might as well go the rest of the way with it. Let’s just hold elections on sanctified ground. Anoint voters’ foreheads with holy water or ashes or the blood of a virgin or something as they are welcomed into the sacred offering of their futures to another pious fraud.
I am very dependent on my faith, & prayer is a big part of that
There is nowhere to hide from this medieval bleating. It’s not enough that the superstitious already had one party where they could find their public opiate, but now it’s a requirement for leadership in “both” political parties.
Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone.
Perhaps people need faith of one sort or another. Some beautiful art and good works have been motivated by people’s faith. History shows that the best products of faith come from the motivation that it provides for a believer to do something themselves. Mix it in with the political sphere like this, where it is used to exort OTHERS to do something, and it serves as nothing more than the seductive spiel delivered by a good grifter. God and faith and hope are empty slogans, seductive promises of some brighter future, some storied time when we will all live in peace and harmony, singing and dancing together in joy and contentment. Failing that con, it becomes a rallying cry for sectarianism and conflict and hatred. Much of the time, it’s both, barker’s patter tuned to the circumstances and the audience.
“I knew that things were going to start happening when we
started having our Web site
flooded with people who would simply say,
we are praying every day for you,"
The louder the prayers, the louder the proclaimations of faith, and the surer you can be that little will really change, because this empty balm has been spewed out by all of the various campaigns to bury any discussion of real problems. Be quiet, have faith, don’t ask questions. Know this, though. The dying will go on in our imperial wars, the poor will go unfed, unclothed and unsheltered. The Katrina diaspora will go on, ignored and denied. The cashing in by the privileged few will not be addressed, but we’ll be encouraged to wait, to take comfort from the prayer breakfasts and ceremonies at the National Cathedral and the moistened eyes when our ruling Lords stand before us in their tailored vestments of power.
Sunday, January 06, 2008
Fill in the Blank
Invisible Man: A Memorial to Ralph Ellison
What did you see happen in Iowa on Thursday? Some saw hope that perhaps we’ve begun to move past racism. Some pundits on the right, like George Will, used Obama’s win to declare that racism was over and done with, a fairy tale that those on the right like to tell themselves as they work to suppress minority voting in election after election. If racism is gone, then their hateful southern strategies aren’t REALLY about the gnawing, hateful fear churning away in their slimey little lizard brains.
Some saw him as the first black American to be able to garner so many votes in an election, even though this is patently not true:
While the primary season is early and Obama faces formidable competition, he hopes to succeed where other black major-party presidential candidates have fallen short.
In 1984, the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson captured 3.5 million votes and won primaries in Louisiana and the District of Columbia during his first bid for the presidency. Four years later, he collected twice as many votes in winning 13 primaries and caucuses. He finished second to the ultimate Democratic nominee, Michael Dukakis. Jackson also mounted major voter registration drives in both years.
Jackson’s campaigns came more than a decade after then-New York Rep. Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress, unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination; she dropped out after collecting 152 delegates in 1972. Four years ago, the Rev. Al Sharpton made an impression in the debates but received only 27 delegates in his Democratic presidential bid.
What he does offer that Jackson and Chilsom didn’t is an overt desire to make white people feel good.
As news broke of Barack Obama’s victory in Iowa, one of the country’s whitest states, political pundits of all stripes quickly told us that we were witnessing a historic shift: the end of race and racism as campaign issues. Even CNN’s dour conservative political analyst Bill Bennett waxed multiculti as he proclaimed that Obama “taught” African Americans that race wasn’t an issue they needed inorder to succeed in politics. Though enthusiastic about the Obama victory, Bennett’s more jocular colleague Jack Cafferty was not quite ready to intone a full-throated Kumbaya. But he did declare that the Illinois senator’s win “gives him currency in a state where the color of his skin may be an issue.”
NBC’s Tom Brokaw credited the Mike Huckabee victory in the Republican caucus to “his defense against illegal immigration,” an issue not viewed in racial terms by white voters. On all parts of the political and media spectrum, pundits and politicos are interpreting the Iowa results to mean that we inhabit a color-blind electoral system.
While watching a black man win the vote of an overwhelmingly white electorate is especially welcome in such racially-charged times as ours, and while the victory of a poor (at least in terms of electoral cash) populist preacher over the preferred Republican candidates of corporate America is refreshing, we are hardly entering the age of race invisibility in politics.
Instead, Iowa points us towards the age of invisible race politics.
The Invisible Man is back and willing to fulfill these demands on the part of white society: don’t make us feel bad, don’t remind us of past and current injustices, don’t make us acknowledge the fear far too many of us have the other, don’t show us pictures of the cancer of our own racism.
How can we find a true place of cooperation and equality and freedom without forgiveness, and how can forgiveness ever happen without acknowledgement of the crimes? We won’t find it in this campaign, no matter how many of us look at the Obama campaign and wish to see it, because Obama isn’t willing to jepardize his political prospects by going up against the owners. He’s in their pocket, he’s on their side. He is of the center-right of a party that WAS the party of Jim Crow for decades. HE WANTS TO FIT INTO THAT GROUP OF PEOPLE, he want’s a nice room in the corporate plantation house, and he will sell out your healthcare, your retirement, the social security system, to stay there.
Barack Obama’s corporate-made and -financed presidential campaign is the product of three distinct factors, all mitigating against Black self-determination and political cohesion:
1) corporate decisions, made a decade ago, to provide media and financial support to pliant Black Democrats that can be trusted to carry Wall Street’s water;
2) a widespread desire among whites to prove through the safe and simple act of voting that they are not personally racist, and/or to dismiss Black claims of pervasive racism in society, once and for all;
3) a huge reservoir of Jim Crow era, atavistic Black thinking that refuses to evaluate Black candidates’ actual political stances, but instead revels in the prospect of Black faces in high places. A President Obama would, of course, be the zenith of such narrow, non-substantive, objectively self-defeating visions.
In 2007, the Obama “package” amply satisfied all three “constituencies.” Corporations found him a loyal ally on Capitol Hill and on the speaking circuit, rewarding him handsomely for his fealty; millions of whites came to believe Obama could solve the “race problem” by his mere presence, at no cost to their own notions of skin privilege; and infinitely manipulable Black dreams of the ultimate Head-Negro-in-Charge. Many, if not most, Black folks yearn to see a Supreme HNIC before they die, and will not question how he got there or whom he really serves.
Paul Street has written often in these pages and elsewhere of Obama’s political charade: his impudent posing as the “Joshua” to succeed Dr. King’s “Moses Generation,” while supporting none of the fundamental social transformations sought by King; his fawning praise of the same U.S. “free enterprise” system that King thought was incompatible with racial justice and peace; Obama’s ridiculous and statistically baseless declaration that Blacks have already come “90 percent of the way to equality,” inferring that his election would provide the final ten percent; the senator’s initial insistence, later modified, that the Katrina catastrophe and the Jena outrage had nothing to do with race; his remarkable pledge to the Foreign Relations Council to increase U.S. troops strength by 100,000 soldiers and Marines, all the while maintaining the farce of being a “peace” candidate. The list goes on, and will doubtless lengthen as the campaign continues.
What I saw in Iowa was an illusionist, a man eager to make entire parts of American history invisible to gain power. Perhaps, in his mind, he’s doing this trick in order to gain that power to make a difference, electoral sleight-of-hand to insert himself into the White House (arguably the biggest plantation house in the land), a sort of dark (trojan) horse. I saw a man eager to render the movements for civil rights that made his run possible invisible, to pander to the boot-strap-ism that Americans seem to love. He’s no shouter of “no justice, no peace” like those OTHER uppity malcontents.
I am an invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allen Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood-movie ectoplasms. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids--and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me. Like the bodiless heads you see sometimes in circus sideshows, it is as though I have been surrounded by mirrors of hard, distorting glass. When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves, or figments of their imagination indeed, everything except me. - Invisible Man (prologue)
Maybe he’s right. I don’t know, but have no patience for the cozy lies and the careful obfuscations anymore. I would like to believe that this was really a country of diversity, that we really were willing and able to confront and reconcile our centuries of enslavement and debasement and theft and genocide. Part of me smiles to see a black man building such momentum in a country as benighted as this one. I’m a sap. I want to believe all of the hallmarkian drivel of the “promise” of America. I want to believe that WE really believed in cooperation and openness and we’re not really a nation of greedy, warmongering racists eager to expand our hegemony over the globe.
The Invisible Man may very well be the Democratic (sic) party’s nominee for President. He is willing to practice the right sorts of misdirection to keep our eyes away from the real problems we face, willing to parade his beautiful assistant/wife to captivate and enthrall. He is willing to disappear behind a fog of beautiful words and high-flown promises, encased in the cozy nostrums of faith and family and a “new generation” of “change”.
I wish I could believe, but I just can’t fill in that blank anymore. I can’t allow another corporate lawyer to coax me into seeing in him what I wish he was. The exploitated lower classes in this country will not find a champion in the Invisible Man anymore than they did in Bubba Clinton. The people of Afghanistan and Iraq and who knows where else will continue to feel the wrath of American firepower. The insurance companies will continue to bleed the sick and dying dry, the oil companies and chemical companies will continue to foul the earth and the sky, the past will go unremarked upon, the children will continue to be left behind. He’s just another politician. Project more upon his blank canvas if you like, but there is one blank I will not fill. I will not vote for this fake agent of change. He’s more of the corporate same, his true intentions rendered invisible behind his carefully crafted wall of words.
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
Shuttering the Window
Oh, if only a group of brave centrist elder statesmen would come along and save us from all the ugly partisan political noise!
Former U.S. Sen. Nunn of Georgia has placed himself at the center of a bipartisan move to push Republican and Democratic presidential candidates to spell out their plans for a government of national unity —- an effort that also could lay the groundwork for an independent White House bid.
Nunn and former Senate colleague David Boren of Oklahoma, both Democrats, have summoned at least 17 well-known, middle-of-the-road political figures from both parties —- including New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a possible independent presidential candidate —- to a one-day meeting next week to take the first steps toward a consensus agenda.
Personally, I think Marisacat has this pathetic bunch pretty well summed up:
... the distasteful and lying parade of nearly elderly, center-right, congealing fuckball of pols past any prime they ever had ...
She links to a Clemons piece at The Washington Note. Make of it what you will; it does make a solid point or two, but I think it and much of the other commentary floating around misses the point about what such gatherings are all about. They aren’t about “changing the tone”, or finding some kind of collection of technocrat princes to gather around and dispassionately solve our many problems.
Whenever you hear calls for “bipartisan consensus” or “centrism” or any other the other locutions calling for “civility” or “sanity” in politics, what you are really hearing are people who have benefitted from the status quo trying to lock in the best part of the current situation (for them, anyway) while heading off any possibility for real change, for a real debate.
It is no accident that you’re witnessing the “leading” candidates of both parties (BOTH ... HAH!) propose variations on the same imperial themes. Private insurance for healthcare is a given for both parties. Our empire of bases, secret prisons, piles of missiles, guns, bombs, planes and other instruments of death are here to stay. One of the world’s most unforgiving and brutal criminal “justice” systems and our prison-industrial complex that it feeds cannot be reformed, or even really questioned. Israel, no matter how brutal its war crimes, MUST be supported unquestioningly. The “drug war” will continue to claim lives, the “war on terror” will continue to provide an excuse for western hegemony and state terror. I could go on.
The sorry bunch of pols zipping around the frozen Iowa wasteland will offer no change, or debate. Dueling marketing, yes, but actual solutions, no.
However, you’ll continue to hear talk about a “third party” run by some winner of life’s lottery like Bloomberg just in case the pressure for a populist candidate produces the possibility to shake up the system. They are a sad bunch, those populists—Edwards, Huckabee, Paul, Kucinich, Gravel—but that is a larger number willing to bet on such a strategy than we’ve seen in quite some time. It’s plain for anybody with half a brain the our present societal setup is teetering on the edge of serious instability, and the time for a runaway populist to mess up the gravy train for the lobbyists and career pols appears to be making the poobahs nervous.
The talk of Bloomberg’s campaign, of Hagel and Nunn and Hart coming up with some “consensus” solution to this country’s problems is a setup to quash debate just as one threatens to break out. Paul and Edwards and the rest are questioning some of those assumptions listed above, and speeches calling for the end of our expanding military presence across the globe in the case of Paul or Edwards increasingly strong statements against corporate power, even though I suspect they are utterly insincere, threaten to push back open the Overton window of our stunted political discourse.
Imagine, if you will, a yardstick standing on end. On either end are the extreme policy actions for any political issue. Between the ends lie all gradations of policy from one extreme to the other. The yardstick represents the full political spectrum for a particular issue. The essence of the Overton window is that only a portion of this policy spectrum is within the realm of the politically possible at any time. Regardless of how vigorously a think tank or other group may campaign, only policy initiatives within this window of the politically possible will meet with success. Why is this?
Politicians are constrained by ideas, even if they have no interest in them personally. What they can accomplish, the legislation they can sponsor and support while still achieving political success (i.e. winning reelection or leaving the party strong for their successor), is framed by the set of ideas held by their constituents — the way people think. Politicians have the flexibility to make up their own minds, but negative consequences await the elected officeholder who strays too far. A politician’s success or failure stems from how well they understand and amplify the ideas and ideals held by those who elected them.
In addition to being dependent on the ideas that form the boundaries of the political climate, politicians are also known to be self-interested and desirous of obtaining the best political result for themselves. Therefore, they will almost always constrain themselves to taking actions within the “window” of ideas approved of by the electorate. Actions outside of this window, while theoretically possible, and maybe more optimal in terms of sound policy, are politically unsuccessful. Even if a few legislators were willing to stick out their necks for an action outside the window, most would not risk the disfavor of their constituents. They may seek the good of those who elected them, and even the good of the state or nation as a whole, but in pursuing the course they think is best, most will certainly take into account their political future. This is the heart of the Overton window theory.
Centrists, that is to say corporatists, the wealthy and the people who have hitched their hopes to the current state of play, do not want that range of ideas widened. Business plans have been laid out, investments made, futures planned, and someone who might threaten the profit-making potential of our usurious financial “services” industry or the protection racket laughingly called the insurance industry or the black-budgeted war machinery is definitely not welcome in the halls of power. We have a box within which the conventional wisdom is perfectly comfortable, thank-you-very-much, and newfangled opinions are not welcome.
This is not to say that any of the candidates I’ve identified as “populists” are anything other than card-carrying members of the ruling class, but politics and ambition sometimes combine to form a wave that might make a millionaire see an opening to his advantage, or perhaps one that wells up and jars loose some grain of interest in fighting for some actual justice or broadened opportunities for those who have few now. Think of someone like RFK, or FDR ... neither of them streetfightin’ working men.
The meeting coming up next week that Nunn and the others are pushing, the continual floating of the names Bloomberg and Hagel, are attempts to slam closed shutters on the opening Overton window that the growing pressure for populism from both the right and the left threatens to force upon our increasingly inequitable corporate feudal state. New light is not welcome ... it is better for those on the bottom to continue to labor in spreading darkness, and for them to shut the hell up. No crazy Texans or Baptist preachers or reborn millworker’s sons have any right to claim places at the gilded table for their supporters.